Our 35th wedding anniversary was to be celebrated with a cruise starting and ending in Venice, Italy. Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas was so bad, we have vowed never to cruise again. I selected our cabin specifically so we would have maximum space and privacy and that we did. However, our neighbors smoked so much that we essentially could not sit on our balcony the entire time of our cruise. There was nothing RCCL could do because their policy is to allow smoking on cabin balconies. The decor of the ship was very, very tacky. The staff was only "fake friendly" in most cases. The buffet restaurant window ledges were filthy dirty with food crumbs, some of which appeared to have been there for quite some time. At breakfast one morning, my husband took a spoonful of prunes and pulled an empty sugar packet wrapper from his mouth. They attempted to extort money from you, much more so than other cruise lines, even charging for fresh orange juice at breakfast. The quality of items in their shops was substandard and the prices, billed as tax and duty free were no bargain. I purchased a Fossil watch on-line directly from the Fossil web site for less money than they were charging on board for their "duty and tax free" watches. The shows were only mediocre with the exception of a Celine Dion impersonator) and the ship's cruise director's was less than charming. I will say, the food was good.
Lots of storage space, huge balcony with lots of privacy. Very quiet unless your balcony neighbors are partying on their balcony to the left. Carpeting and chair upholstery need to be redone as they look dirty. Bathroom good size. But all for naught if you don't like breathing second-hand cigarette smoke because your neighbors can ruin the balcony experience for you because they can and do smoke there a lot.
We took a ship's tour to Alberobello and it was fabulous. We drove through ancient olive groves to a restaurant near the town of Alberobello where we had an absolutely fabulous lunch in the most charming location. The town was unlike any place we have ever seen, with homes built in the round with conical stone roofs. This was the best tour of the entire cruise and the tour leader, Anna Maria, was a delight. There was time after the tour to spend time in Bari and take the cruise shuttle back to the ship or stay on the bus and return to the ship.
What can we say about Dubrovnik that hasn't already been said. It is stunning. The only problem was the enormous number of people all trying to see it at the same time. There was only one other cruise ship in port when we were there but since it was August, it was jammed with vacationers. Unless you are afraid you will miss something you really want to see, I would suggest just taking a cab or the bus into town and do it on your own. There are many unlicensed cabs that will try to charge you more than the allowed fare into town which is 10 euros. Look for the sticker at the top right of the cab windshield showing the cab's license number to be sure you are not "riding with the rogue"s. We hired a cab to take us into Bosnia. The ride was beautiful while along the coast and interesting inland but by doing that we sacrificed time in the city itself. Our cab driver drove like an absolute maniac, passing on blind curves often at speeds of up to 70-80 mph. There is so much to see and enjoy in the city itself and so little time in port that if I could do it over again, I'd skip the ride to Bosnia. Also, be prepared for how hot it is in August - 39 degrees celsius when we were there.
Venice is so amazing but not so much so in August/early September when it is crowded beyond belief and very, very hot and humid. Go in June. We had been to Venice before so we didn't need any tours. Stray from the typical tourist haunts and explore the alley ways so you can see some of the Venice not packed with people. It is also expensive but worth every penny. If you are planning on a pre or post cruise visit, a stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Quarto D'Altino just outside of Venice will save you considerable money. They are literally just across from a train into the city and offer a nice spot with free transport to the airport, a superb breakfast buffet and a friendly staff.